Here’s the deal with this sweet and sour chicken recipe. There are a few steps, but I promise it will be worth it in the end. It’s definitely easier to make this version than my Chinese Jade Red Chicken. It serves 4, so you can eat it for dinner and store leftover crispy chicken in the freezer for later.
Why Make Sweet and Sour Chicken When You Can Buy It
First of all, you can easily buy orange or sweet and sour chicken at Costco or order take out, but I actually think this recipe is worth making at home.
- Cheaper to make your own
- Superior tasting sweet and sour sauce requiring only 6 ingredients
- More balanced tangy to sweet flavor (no msg, just quality food)
- Mandarin orange zest heightens the fresh factor
In my version, you use a sweetener called brown rice syrup to add sweetness while adding savoriness. This is my golden secret to a freaking badass Asian sauce.
Watch How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken (Video)
In case you are a visual person, I’ve put together a short video showing the steps involved.
How to Cook the Vegetables
Need more vegetables in your life? Me too. Go crazy and add as many as you want. To do this, just cook the vegetables in a small amount of oil with some aromatics (ginger, green onion) over medium heat. I chose a bell pepper for its naturally sweet, tangy, savory profile. Once the vegetables are just tender (not mushy) add the sauce with the chicken and call it a meal.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
- spider strainer for deep frying
- wok (optional) but nice for stir frying vegetables and deep frying
- metal mixing bowls
- stainless steel whisk
- microplane for mincing ginger
- a sharp chef’s knife for chopping vegetables
More Chicken Recipes You Might Like
- Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Satay
- Chinese Jade Red Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Bahn Mi Bowls
- Thai Vegetable Curry
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken (white or dark meat) cut into 1" bite size chunks
- 1 large whole egg
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- vegetable oil for frying (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari
- 2 tsp sambal olek chile paste
- 1 tsp mandarin orange zest
- 1/4 tsp minced ginger
- 3 green onions sliced thinly
- 1 bell pepper cut into strips
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Add the chicken pieces, egg, and salt to a medium bowl. Massage the chicken with your hands then dust with arrowroot starch. Toss with a spoon to distribute evenly.
- Warm the vegetable oil in a large pan with tall sides over medium heat. Add the chicken, working in 2 batches. Use a spoon to break up any pieces that stick together. Flip over and fry until crisp and ever so slightly golden. Drain onto paper towels.
- In a medium bowl, add the brown rice syrup, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce (or gluten free tamari), chili paste, and orange zest. Whisk to combine.
- Warm a large skillet over medium heat with a spoonful of oil. Saute the ginger, green onion, and bell pepper until aromatic. Add the fried chicken and sweet and sour sauce. Simmer for 1 minute and serve over steamed rice with sesame seeds.
How to Freeze Sweet and Sour ChickenAfter deep frying the chicken, portion the crispy pieces in freezer bags. Frozen chicken will last for 2 months, possibly longer. Simply reheat directly from frozen in the oven until hot. Make the sweet and sour sauce ahead and freeze in a separate plastic bag. Run the bag under warm water and then bring to a simmer in a large skillet. Toss with the chicken just to coat.
How to Make A Side of Jasmine RiceRinse 1 cup jasmine rice and add to a medium size pot with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover and immediately lower the heat to low. Cook for 18 minutes, then allow to steam with the heat off for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve with the sweet and sour chicken.
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